Vancouver is a cosmopolitan Canadian city and a worthy vacation destination in the Pacific Northwest. With ocean and mountain views from downtown, it's a unique city with a little bit of everything. For nature lovers, it's easy to get out into the wilderness, for avid shoppers, Vancouver has all the best stores, and for foodies, Vancouver has everything from fine dining to street food.
Easily accessible by land, sea, and air, it's no surprise that Vancouver receives over eight million visitors annually. Full of charming neighborhoods, like Gastown, East Van, and Kitsilano, the city regularly ranks in the top five most liveable cities in the world. Residents count themselves lucky to live so close to world-class attractions like Stanley Park and the Vancouver Aquarium while residing in the place with the mildest climate in Canada. All this does have a downside though; the real estate prices in Vancouver rival those of New York and London.
Considered a true melting pot of cultures, Vancouver is lucky to have almost any type of cuisine you can think of and most of those are available as street food in one way or another. The highest street food concentration is downtown, but food trucks travel all the way out to the Fraser Valley to spread the good food around.
While you might be anxious to get out and try all the food that the city has to offer, before you embark on a culinary journey, drop off your bags at a Bounce luggage storage in Vancouver. You'll need your hands free to eat.
The best street food vendors in Vancouver
Started in the surfing town of Tofino on Vancouver Island, Tacofino is a true success story. They have three food trucks and seven restaurant locations just in Vancouver. This taco and burrito slinger specializes in west coast inspired food with unique combinations. Fresh ingredients are a priority and every truck and restaurant has both vegan and vegetarian options.
The menus at the food trucks are more limited than the brick-and-mortar locations, but diners can choose between chicken, cauliflower, squash, and fish tacos or yam tempura, carnitas, and chicken burritos. The Tacofino Blue Truck roams the streets of Vancouver, and the Pink Truck has a prime downtown location at Robson and Howe. No matter which truck you visit, a taco or burrito is the ideal lunch for on-the-go Vancouverites.
Creperie la Boheme
Savory and sweet buckwheat crepes are the name of the game at the roving food truck of Creperie la Boheme. This food truck is often spotted at farmers' markets around the lower mainland delighting market-goers with their traditionally French crepe recipes. Find them at the Trout Lake Market and Kitsilano Farmers Market in the summer, and at the market at Nat Bailey Stadium in the winter. Each menu item is a colorful masterpiece and they offer both vegan and vegetarian crepes.
A Vancouver institution with two restaurants in town, Yolks should be on everyone's foodie bucket list. The restaurants are in the Grandview-Woodland and Fairview neighborhoods of East Van, and they also have a food truck that is often spotted in Gastown. For a comprehensive guide to Vancouver's neighborhoods, visit the ultimate neighborhood guide.
As for the food at Yolks, it wouldn't be an understatement to say it has a cult-like following and they are in massive demand. From the savory brunch classic of Eggs Benedict smothered in hollandaise sauce to coffee options to a make your own breakfast sandwich on a toasted English muffin, this place meets all your needs for breakfast and brunch foods. It's safe to say that they don't do the bare minimum at Yolks. The menu goes above and beyond featuring honey-cured ham, homemade beignets, and free-range eggs. When you visit Yolks, whether it's at one of the restaurants or a truck, be prepared to wait. It's just that popular.
A North American sensation with locations in Vancouver, BC, and Los Angeles, CA, Japadog puts the quintessential twist on the hotdog using traditional Japanese ingredients. The restaurants and numerous food trucks offer seven different hot dog bases, including one meat-free option, loaded with unique toppings. Japadog's hot dogs are topped with everything from miso sauce to tonkatsu sauce to soba noodles. They even have a unique shrimp tempura hot dog on a bed of rice in the bun.
Japadog's locations range from a store on Robson Street to carts, trailers, and trucks scattered throughout Vancouver and as far as Richmond and Surrey. Whichever location you hit, make sure you try their signature hotdog, the Terimayo. A flavorful sausage gets even tastier with mayo, teriyaki sauce, and seaweed.
With a restaurant in Vancouver's Davie Village neighborhood and a traveling food truck, Disco Cheetah will satisfy any craving you have for Korean food. They promise good food and fast service. It's the perfect spot for a picky eater as you get to choose everything yourself. Start with your style, like rice bowls, salad bowls, or wraps, and then pick your protein. The Van tofu is deep-fried tofu tossed in gochujang tomato sauce and the nokdu falafel is made with mung beans. Both options are vegan, but meat lovers can opt for Korean fried chicken or bulgogi beef. Finally, choose one of the nine sauces to complete your perfect street food meal.
A unique feature of Disco Cheetah is that they offer their food truck for your own event as long as it's within the lower mainland. Who wouldn't love a food truck catered lunch at their next function?
Vancouverites and visitors with a hankering for Asian cuisine with a twist on the go should head to Le Tigre Food Truck, although the location does change daily. Varying through the week from Railtown to Downtown to South Granville, the simple yet tasty menu here does not disappoint. Famous for its Kick Ass Rice Bowls, Le Tigre uses everything from fried beets to pork belly to brussels sprouts to braised beef brisket. They have a location on Main Street to complement their roaming truck.
The chefs here have a philosophy that includes organic meats and sustainable seafood for uniquely fresh and flavorful goodness you don't expect in fast food.
Vij's Railway Express
Specializing in Indian fusion, Vij's Railway Express is one of the city's favorite food trucks. The award-winning butter chicken schnitzel is something you won't find anywhere else. The lamb kebabs are a crowd favorite and the Indian menu in a food truck is somewhat rare in a city that adores Indian cuisine. Many of the dishes come with rice and a small piece of naan and you can dress your meal up with pickled beets, marinated mushrooms, and other flavor-packed options. Considering its prime downtown location, you'd certainly expect the prices to be higher.
Chickpea Food Truck
Initially started as a way to bring really good hummus to Vancouverites, Chick Pea Food Truck has evolved into a neighborhood staple of Middle Eastern cuisine. This place is a vegetarian haven with great gluten-free options. The popularity of fresh, high-quality, and healthy food in Vancouver has helped Chickpea to establish a restaurant and two food trucks - one in Kitsilano and one downtown at Howe and Cordova.
The menu at Chickpea is entirely customizable. You pick your style, like pita, salad, or platter, and then choose your plant-based main. The plant-based mains range from falafel to shwarma to chickebab made with herbs and spices and vegan ground meat. In fact, their entire menu, including dessert, is vegan.
Where to find the best Vancouver street food spots
For the highest number of food trucks and street food options, you have to head downtown. There are too many options to mention, but a few highlights include Mom's Grilled Cheese Truck and the Frying Pan Food Truck. With a dense downtown core full of leisurely shoppers, busy professionals, and tourists, it's no surprise that this is your best street food in Vancouver option.
Close to the beach and known for an affinity towards a healthy lifestyle, Kitsilano, west of downtown, is another street food heaven, especially for those who want healthier options. Tacofino has a food truck here, as does Chickpea, along with many others like Puerto Mexico and the Super Thai Food Truck. It's the perfect spot to grab lunch and take it to the beach for some fun in the sun (provided it isn't raining, of course). This is also a scenic neighborhood to walk around, and for more walking options, visit the best hikes in Vancouver.
Hipster central, Commercial Drive, known simply as The Drive offers plenty of on-the-go food options. Easy takeout from local chains line the street and a highlight here is The Lunch Lady which brings Vietnamese street food to Vancouver. This neighborhood is definitely worth a wander and you can follow the various pleasant aromas into a new and exciting restaurant. Aside from Vietnamese, you'll find southern BBQ, Italian, and Filipino cuisine.
Street food festivals in Vancouver
Food trucks are so popular in Vancouver that they are present at almost all festivals hosted in the city and its surroundings. As for street food-specific festivals, there are those too. Street Food City is a festival held in January to help Vancouverites cure their winter blues. The event features a revolving choice of around 20 different trucks just outside the Vancouver Art Gallery downtown and is part of the larger Dine Out Vancouver Festival.
A quick trip to nearby New Westminster rewards you with the Columbia StrEAT Food Truck Fest. This event with over 100 food trucks is free and even includes live entertainment. If you're in town in late July, this is a must-do. Also a little outside Vancouver, Food Truck Wars in Cloverdale takes place in April. This food truck fest offers access to over 40 vendors, also with live entertainment.
The PNE, a late summer fair held at the Playland amusement park on East Hastings, is another fabulous option for street food. Get all the fair classics along with fried chicken, pizza, and tacos. Also in the summer, the Richmond Night Market near Vancouver Airport is heaven for lovers of Asian food from traditional to unique. Try the fried chicken bolo sando paired with a deep-fried bao with ice cream for dessert.
For anyone venturing to or staying in the Fraser Valley, the Greater Vancouver Food Truck Festival plans events throughout the year scattered from Burnaby all the way to Chilliwack. Most of these events are on the small side, but still provide an excellent selection of cuisines.
You'll find fantastic cuisine throughout Vancouver, and the street food scene is no different. There are options for Asian, Indian, Mexican, French, and so much more. The only trouble with all this choice is fitting it all in. Most of the food trucks and restaurants in Vancouver have websites that inform you of their locations, so it's easy to find out where your favorite street food vendor is today.